Bill Gates had one particular big idea that I love, among all the others: why not make his favorite history course of all time available to everyone?
Well, it's not quite available to everyone, but it's becoming available to more and more students, and soon, it might be available to my students as well. And I couldn't be more excited.
The course "Big History" by David Christian was Bill Gates' favorite course of all time: it blends history, science and geography into one course, on a very broad scale. From the big bang to modern day, it's all covered.
Gates first saw “Big History” via DVD after stepping down from Microsoft, and was impressed: it did not confine itself to any particular topic, or even to a single academic discipline. Instead, it put forward a synthesis of history, biology, chemistry, astronomy and other disparate fields, which Christian wove together into nothing less than a unifying narrative of life on earth.
Bill began footing the bill not long after to make it available to students across the USA. Now, it's being made available to 1,200+ schools around the country. Hopefully, this growth will only continue. My school will be included in this second pilot, and I couldn't be more excited!
The Big History Project is open to you as well. On the Big History website, you will find a public course, offering a four-to-six hour tour of Big History. It’s an abbreviated introduction to 13.8 billion years of history. I could think of less efficient ways to spend an afternoon: go enjoy it!